Zero Grocery Founder and CEO Zuleyka Strasner announced today via Medium that Zero has raised $3 million in Seed funding for its plastic-free grocery delivery service. According to Strasner, “the largest check” came from 1984, with other investors such as Arlan Hamilton, AVG Basecamp Fun, Bluestein Ventures and more participating. This brings the total amount raised by Zero Grocery to $4.7 million.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zero Grocery doesn’t use any plastic in its grocery delivery service. According to the company FAQ, food is bought wholesale and packed into glass jars, tiffins, boxes and other containers.
Zero has a membership option for $25 a month, which gives offers free deliveries and also collects empty containers from previous deliveries (which then get sanitized and re-used). You don’t have to have a membership to shop at Zero, though non-members pay a $7.99 delivery fee.
The timing is certainly ripe for Zero’s fundraise. First, the pandemic has spurred record amounts of online grocery shopping over the past six months. And while the numbers have fallen, the online grocery sector is projected to keep growing and hit $250 billion by 2025.
In the Medium post, Strasner even mentioned that the pandemic drove 20x new business for Zero, but it was it was able to adjust on the fly and survive:
As other grocery stores faced out-of-stocks due to a mutual reliance on the same distributors and sources for their products, we were able to avoid out-of-stocks and maintain a consistent customer experience. We had put our model to the test and succeeded, and it allowed us to serve customers in the best way we possibly could.
But the plastic-free nature of Zero’s service is also compelling. People are more acutely aware than ever, especially in light of a recent NPR and Frontline’s recent headline “How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.”
Thankfully, there is a new wave of waste-free grocery stores coming up to help tackle the problem. In addition to Zero Grocery, there’s Zero Market in Denver, CO, and Nada Grocery in Vancouver, Canada. Even big brands like Unilever and Pepsi are getting in on the reusable container train through the Loop store.
All of this combined, along with $3 million means that there are a lot more zeros in Zero’s warchest to help it scale its plastic-free mission.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post misstated that there was a jar deposit for non-members.